|Be Humble |
Trust always and a great deal in divine providence; never, never must you let yourselves be discouraged, despite contrary winds. I say it again: trust in God and Mary Immaculate; be faithful and forge ahead!
-Paulina do Coração Agonizante de Jesus
The circumstances of St. Monica's life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica's prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism.
Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father's death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil) and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.
When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine's trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.
In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica's spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.
She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, "Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled." She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.
Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions.
When Monica moved from North Africa to Milan, she found religious practices new to her and also that some of her former customs, such as a Saturday fast, were not common there. She asked St. Ambrose which customs she should follow. His classic reply was: "When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself."
Daily Prayer - 2015-08-27
My soul longs for your presence, Lord.
When I turn my thoughts to You,
I find peace and contentment.
God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life?
By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit.
If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The Word of God
Memorial of Saint Monica
We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters,
in our every distress and affliction, through your faith.
For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you,
for all the joy we feel on your account before our God?
Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person
and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.
Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus
direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.
R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to his disciples:- - -
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
"Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,'
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant's master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Throughout the gospels Jesus speaks about being 'awake' and paying attention. Jesus' call to build a world of justice and peace cannot be delayed. The time is now.
- Am I so preoccupied with the busyness of life and my own particular cares and concerns that I sometimes forget to watch and pray?
What is stirring in me as I pray?
Am I consoled, troubled, left cold?
I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
Meditation: Matthew 24:42-51
View NAB Reading at USCCB.org
Saint Monica (Memorial)
You do not know on which day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:42)
No wonder Jesus warns us to stay awake! The end could come at any time, and he wants all of us to be ready to greet him when he does come back. This is not just some vague warning. It's a practical approach to life that we all should adopt.
So stay awake! Remember who you are: a child of God, close to his heart. You are loved, precious, and unique, and he delights in you. You are not just the subject of a distant God. You are his own child, and he cares about you. He rejoices when you do, and he wants to comfort you when you've been hurt. Spend some time, daily, alone with the One who is always on your side. "Father, awaken in me the truth that I am your child so that I can live in your love today."
Stay awake! God has plans for your life, plans for your good, plans to give you a future full of hope
(Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to involve you deeply in his life, even when it looks like the same old job, the same old school routine, or the same old schedule of housework. Ask him! He loves to share his intentions with you. "Father, what are your plans for me today? How do you want to draw me to your side today? How do you want me to build your kingdom today?"
Stay awake! Satan would like nothing better than to catch you asleep. Be wary of his lies, especially when he tries to tell you that you are worthless, unloved, or all alone. Be alert, for the devil wants to bind you with cords of anger, bitterness, and grudges. Don't fall for it! Forgive. Ask forgiveness. Strife, anxiety, and fear are his territory. Run to your Father when you find yourself there. "Father, open my eyes and ears to perceive and flee the works of the devil."
Stay awake! God has poured out his love in your heart, a love that can flow out to others. When challenges come, don't panic. Ask the Father to help you see what he sees, and to love as he does.
"Father, fill my heart with more of your love. Help me to move in your peace and patience today, alert to what you want to do."
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17
Today's 1st Holy Scripture said "For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord." You remember I said I'm alive now because I have been saved? This is what it means to be alive...to be with the Lord. So you could put the intro after the phrase and say "If you stand firm in the Lord, we now live". Last night we had co-worker bible study that I felt the Lord ask me to start. There is a core group of guys, some come and go. We laughed yesterday; one guy that used to come is now apparently even afraid of us asking him to come again to class. One guy made me a bet as we went to bring food for the reunion, "I bet by the time we get back, that guy we invited would have shut down his job, shut the doors and leave, I'll bet you one jalapeno". I said "Ok I'll bet he's still there". We get there, and the doors were shut. We caught a glimpse of him and he scrammed as soon as he saw us. I've heard he's even made a bid deal because I said "we're taking the bible study to his house again". We laughed because it's funny. Funny how some are afraid...to come to Jesus. What is He doing to you? What has He not done for you? Aren't you alive? Are you living a lie? Alive...or A lie ? Yes..or no, what is really going on here?
The Psalms pray on "You turn man back to dust, saying, "Return, O children of men." and the responsorial Psalm is "Fill us with your love O Lord, and we will sing for joy"! What a peculiar line too "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart." My dad, the boss here at work, said "I don't know how much longer I have, I wish I knew if it were a few days or a few years". I said "we don't know, it could be tomorrow or 20 years". Wouldn't we all like to know? Some saints are given the gift of knowing the day they will go. One of my god-sons told me a couple years ago about his uncle that had cancer and a few days before he died, he said Jesus had visited him and told him when he would go...and it happened. I asked, "was he a church going guy?". He said no, but apparently he had met the Lord during his bout with cancer. Is that what it will take for you to take into consideration the days you have on earth? Maybe this is the testimony of the man now, learn to take into consideration the time we have with the Lord on earth. How much time are you spending with Him? When I got home from a CCD meeting last night I asked the kids at home "what was the best part of your day?" They said different things, and then they asked "what about you dad?" and I said "I just got back from visiting the Blessed Sacrament, that was the best part of my day". I walked from the meeting in the parish hall to the church at night thinking "have I visited Him today? Apparently not since I can not remember!" Because you will never forget a visit, an encounter with His Blessed Presence.
Jesus comes to us today with two important words "Stay AWAKE!". What makes you sleepy? The humdrum of everyday life makes you sleepy, hypnotized. You forget to be with the Lord. What else makes you sleepy? I say drugs make you sleepy, some drugs make you in a sense, unconscious. They take your mind to a certain degree that you can not really be with the Lord in all your senses and if that won't come...then the Spirit won't enter to one who does not call. What else makes you sleep? Sin. Sin detracts and takes you away from being alive and awake, makes you stay a-lie instead of alive. Start coming back. "Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so." Doing what? Being faithful and prudent. What is faithful? Last night at the meeting, our priest, Father Joseph made some final comments and I saw someone write a comment to another "I've heard that before". And my heart found itself at a juxtaposition, kind of in a conundrum. Ok, so, what does that mean? It could mean a couple things, A.) you are making a sly remark against my father, B.) you are stating merely a fact of nothing changing. or C.) All of the above. LOL. Answer A, affects me though, because we should never make sly remarks about our father in the parish even if they are those in sin. This generation has lost veneration, that is great respect or reverence to priests. The world has made themselves the judge of stereotypes instead of the children of God. In a nutshell, the world has lost humility. Did you notice today's email at the top started with Be Humble? Perhaps being faithful means being humble. Sure you can be faithful and serve forever, but what about humility, and compassion which equal love....a true love of God? And what all does this bring about? Obedience to the truest sense. Watch what is going to be said in Sunday's readings, the Gospel more specifically. God doesn't care so much as what goes into man as to what goes out. I care what goes into my mouth though...because Jesus comes into my body and soul through my mouth. I'm asking you like the man that ran away from us last night...do you want Jesus in your life? Will you too shut your door? Because we read in Sunday's readings that are coming, that people like to hear good things, but are deceived by not listening. You have read this far all of this, now take it to heart, because what comes from the heart matters, darkness or light. This week I've heard of a stabbing, a shooting, and another man threatening to drive his truck into a store, and the common denominator? The heart was darkened, hurt perhaps, but mostly anger was coming out, spitting fury and hatred. A young man asked me this morning "are they going to make me confess since I'm going to be a godparent (sponsor) for a baptism?" and I said "I don't know where you are going to do this, but if I were you I would take the first opportunity to confess, to be ready for the Lord" and this means too...to wake up. Be clean. Be ready. Be faithful, be ready. Be humble, be ready...